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  • TonyYao/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With larger portion sizes and many foods higher in fat, it’s not a surprise to find that the average weight of American men has increased by about 15 pounds over the last two decades, according to a new study published Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).“[This rate] is always a cause for alarm,” Dr. Goutham Rao, Chairman of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at Case Western Medical Center told ABC News.He said rising obesity rates continue to be a major source of health problems for many Americans. “The prevalence of obesity in adults has increased since 2006, and this is true for kids as well. We are even seeing more children with adult problems, like high blood pressure.”Rao said he sees more patients every day with obesity-related illnesses.“Obesity is not just related to diabetes and heart disease,” he said. Patients “are having problems with their mobility, arthritis, and there is a psychological component as well.”Researchers from the CDC found that the average weight of U.S. men over the age of 20 has increased to 195.7 pounds, according to data from 2011 to 2014. The former average, 180.7 lbs. was based on data from 1988-1994. The heights of both men and women remained about the same.Women and children are not immune to the slow weight gain of recent decades,either. The average woman in 1960 weighed 140.2 pounds. Today, the average weight for women is 168.5 pounds. Adolescent boys and girls seem to be the most at risk, with a 12 pound average weight gain -- proportionately more based on height -- compared to 20 years ago.Rao said the increase in weight gain over the past 50 years is due to many factors, since body weight is determined by genetics as well as environment.But the news isn’t all bad. According to CDC data, the rate at which American men are gaining weight is slowing down. Since 2002, U.S. men increased their average weight by just 5 pounds.Researchers in the study used data on weight, height, circumference and other body measurements from 19,151 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, between 2011-2014.While the rate of weight gain has decreased, experts say the overall increase in weight is still worrying.Rao said there are basic steps people can take to begin losing weight. Choosing to drink water instead of beverages that contain calories and taking a walk around the neighborhood are some small changes in daily routine that can have a big impact on health.He also said that people who are trying to lose weight should not focus on the number of pounds lost or a certain deadline for the weight loss. “Think about adopting healthy behaviors that can last a lifetime,” Rao said.
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  • naruedom/iStock/Thinkstock(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) --  As the number of Zika cases in Puerto Rico skyrocket into the thousands, Congressman Pedro Pierluisi, the island’s sole representative, has called for zika-fighting, genetically-modified mosquitoes to be considered for deployment on the island as one way of combating the mosquito-borne illness that is ravaging the Caribbean island.In an interview with ABC News, Pierluisi said, “We should be thinking out of the box.”The virus has infected over 5,500 people living on the island, including at least 676 pregnant women. By comparison, the total for the entire mainland U.S. is just over 1,600.“I have written to the FDA, the CDC, I have raised the issue in Congress,” Pierluisi told ABC News. “If it is being used in Florida, it should be used in Puerto Rico as well!”The congressman, who is allowed to advocate on behalf of the island but cannot vote in Congress, also said more needs to be done to develop a vaccine to protect against the virus.“Because the virus is starting to affect the mainland, finally someone is starting to pay attention,” the congressman said. “As a territory, Puerto Rico often becomes an afterthought for federal authorities.”According to the CDC, “Hundreds to thousands more pregnant women in Puerto Rico could become infected with Zika by the end of the year."
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  • abadonian/iStock/Thinkstock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- Officials from the Florida Department of Health are looking into a second Zika case that may have been spread locally.The infected person was diagnosed in Broward County, where officials are investigating whether the individual could have contracted the disease by traveling abroad, through sexual contact or via infected mosquitoes.If they find the person contracted the disease from local mosquitoes carrying Zika, it would be the first time the virus is confirmed to have spread within the U.S. through mosquitoes.On Wednesday, the health department announced it was investigating a Zika case in Miami-Dade County as a possible instance of local transmission. Currently both cases are under investigation and the health department has yet to confirm whether or not they occurred due to local transmission of the virus.Zika prevention kits and repellent have been made available at the Department of Health in Broward County and mosquito control is trapping mosquitoes to study.The state surgeon general has requested help from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in studying these two cases.There have been more than 1,300 people diagnosed with Zika in the U.S., but virtually all were infections contracted while abroad. A small number of cases were transmitted via sexual contact with partners who were infected abroad, according to health officials.In order to be classified as a case of ongoing local Zika transmission, there needs to be two cases of Zika infection within a one-mile diameter within a month that are both unrelated to travel or sexual transmission, according to the CDC.
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  • Creatas/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- One Chicago pediatric hospital is getting ready for an influx of intoxicated adolescents by running "teen tox" drills, also called "drunk drills" ahead of the music festival Lollapallooza.The Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago typically sees a nine-fold increase in the number of intoxicated teens following the Lollapalooza music festival, according to Dr. Karen Mangold, pediatric emergency physician in the emergency department.Mangold, who heads the simulation at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, said they decided last year to run drills so that medical staff would be ready to greet the influx of teens."They come in three or four ambulances at at time," Mangold said of the intoxicated teens. "It's about nine times the teen intoxication seen in the ER -- way more than other drinking holidays, even more than St. Patrick's Day or Halloween."She said that by running two drills it gives residents the know-how to get started on any sick teen and not wait for an attendee to arrive."The main thing we see patients for is [coming in] for intoxication," said Mangold. "We also prepare for possible other drug ingestion."Mangold said they run two drills to prepare for the influx of teens under the influence. The first drill involves using an intern to impersonate a drunk teen, who is not responding and get in touch with the family. Then, a drill where they mimic the experience of treating a teen high on Ecstacy. In that drill they also cope with increased body temperature caused by the drug, which can wreak havoc during a summer concert.Mangold said statistically they see more female teens than male teens and most patients come from out of town. She said concerned parents can take steps to keep an eye on their kids if they end up going to the concert and plan on staying with them in a hotel if they are visiting from out of town. She also said teens should put emergency contact on their entrance wristband or on an unlocked phone."If we have an unconscious kids, it's really scary to not be able to get in touch with the parents," she said.
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  • Creatas Images/Thinkstock(GREENVILLE, Mich.) -- Julie and John Vandermolen have never been parents, but they’re making their debut in a big way.The Greenville, Michigan, couple is pregnant with identical triplets -- something so rare that experts estimate it ranges from one in tens of thousands to even millions of births -- and their announcement to the world, shared on YouTube, is a unique delivery.
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